birthdays

Crazy Busy Birthday Week

Well, it’s not all that busy. We are still doing our voluntary self-isolation, and all these folks have long passed on.

I’ve posted about this grouping of birthdays before, however, I left one out.  It wasn’t until I made a “Family Birthday” calendar (using Google Calendar) that this terrible omission was discovered.  I had not added my paternal great grandfather to this group.  Here are they chronologically, by birth year:

All these folks are on my paternal (father’s) side.  Starting with Great Granddad (not to be confused with Old Granddad which is a whole different thing…)

Samuel W. Campbell, 26 March 1861 – 8 February 1924.  This is the 159th anniversary of his birth.  I have no idea what the “W” stands for.  I have not been able to find much documentation of this gentleman.  I do have two obituaries and his death certificate for him but that’s all.  Worst of all is no pictures.  My grandmother (just down this list) had pictures of her dad, and of Herbert, and even lots of my dad as a child, but none that I can say is Samuel. 

But I do have his death certificate which gave me his parent’s names.

Then we have his son, my Grandfather.

Herbert J. Campbell, 31 March 1884 – 5 February 1919.  So, 136th anniversary. As with his father, I have no idea what the middle initial “J” is for.  My best guess is James, as that was his grandfathers name. That would be close to a traditional Scottish naming convention.  Had Samuel followed that tradition then James would have been his given name, not his middle name. I can find other Herbert’s across several branches of this line, so maybe he was named for an uncle or such.

Guess he played trombone. I would imagine that Nanny told me who the little girl was, but I don’t remember.

Next, we have Herbert’s wife, my Grandmother (or Nanny as I knew her)

Josephine Melinda (nee Bodle) Campbell, 27 March 1885 – 21 July 1975.  Happy 135th Nanny!  I have posted about Nanny several times. As she lived with us for most of my childhood, she was very instrumental in my upbringing. 

Nanny in front of the “Friends Union” (a Quaker meetinghouse) in State College, PA. She ran the kitchen there. I just love the hat and corsage.

Finally, dear old dad.

Donald Sherwood Campbell, 28 March 1912 – 19 February 1985. Wow!  108th for pops! If you look up “character” in the dictionary, my dad’s picture will be there. He is the main reason, along with my brother, that I have a warped sense of humor. And I’m proud to say that I have passed that on to my two sons! Hey – a legacy is a legacy. Even if it’s silly.

Sadly, no place or date for this photo of dad.

I can only imagine how this week was celebrated during the short time (1912 – 1919) when all four of these people could be together.

Peace,
B

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Happy Birthday David!

Another birthday for a member of my “Guitar Gods” list.  Admittingly, this is a list that only exists in my head, I’ve never committed to paper, or an electronic version for that matter. 

David was a late entry to this list. I didn’t really find Pink Floyd until the Dark Side of the Moon album which was released in 1973. Since then I have managed to find quite a few of their older albums. Of course, all my albums are just sitting gathering dust since I have no way to play them. I do have a turntable, but nothing to plug it into. Maybe one day.

This track is from the 1979 blockbuster album The Wall.

Comfortably Numb” is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on their eleventh album, The Wall (1979). It was released as a single in 1980 with “Hey You” as the B-side. The chorus progression and guitar solos were written by guitarist David Gilmour, while the lyrics and verse progression were written by bassist Roger Waters.

“Comfortably Numb” is one of Pink Floyd’s most famous songs, renowned for its two guitar solos. In 2004, it was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2005, it became the last song ever performed by Waters, Gilmour, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason together.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfortably_Numb

The comments on this video list Chuck Leavell as co-lead (keyboardist with the opening vocals), and Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters with back up vocals. I’m not sure, but I think you can catch a glimpse of Roger playing the acoustic guitar.  Maybe someone with better eyes can verify that.

Here are a few of the comments from the YouTube page I found interesting;

  • The solo is not something you hear , it’s something you feel.
  • My dad is screaming at me from the next room to turn the bloody volume up for the Solo.
  • My neighbour called the police because I was playing Comfortably Numb too loud. The police arrested my neighbour.

And my favorite –

Doctor : u have 5min to live 
Me : Listens to Comfortably Numb 
Doctor : But that’s 9min 
God : it’s okay

Happy 74th David!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Happy Birthday George!

Guitar hero #2 (listed chronologically) would have turned 77 today. Instead we lost George Harrison in 2001, just 6 days after my mother passed. He was only 58 when he died from cancer.

But let’s not dwell on the loss. George has always been my favorite Beatle. It was my just older sister that fostered this view. She was a big George fan, and since she was the closest in age to me (but still 8 years older), I adopted her choice, and George has always remained my favorite.

I do appreciate George’s sitar playing, but it can be very overpowering at times.  I currently have SiriusXM’s Beatles channel playing. Naturally they have specials featuring George’s music all day long.  Within You Without You is playing as I type this.  As I told my brother just earlier today, the sitar works so beautifully in this piece. My brother doesn’t care for any sitar.  He’d rather George stay with his guitar.  I can’t really blame him.

My brother and I also talked about how George’s playing changed over the years. George may not have started as the most innovated guitarist but is definitely one of the most copied guitarists.

The song I picked for today comes from George’s first solo album released after the breakup of The Beatles. And what an album it is, a triple album. George had so much material that never made it on to a Beatles release it took three discs to contain it all. This track was recorded, but not used, for The Beatles Let It Be album. It was also recorded by keyboardist Billy Preston.

All Things Must Pass is a triple album by English rock musician George Harrison. Recorded and released in 1970, it was Harrison’s first solo work after the break-up of the Beatles in April that year, and his third solo album overall. It includes the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life“, as well as songs such as “Isn’t It a Pity” and the title track that had been turned down for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison’s musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylanthe BandDelaney & Bonnie and Friends and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartneyAll Things Must Pass introduced Harrison’s signature slide guitar sound and the spiritual themes present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein‘s album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.

Production began at London’s Abbey Road Studios in May 1970, with extensive overdubbing and mixing continuing through October. Among the large cast of backing musicians were Eric Clapton and members of Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends band – three of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo StarrGary Wright, Preston, Klaus VoormannJohn BarhamBadfinger and Pete Drake. The sessions produced a double album’s worth of extra material, most of which remains unissued.

All Things Must Pass was critically and commercially successful on release, with long stays at number one on charts worldwide. Co-producer Phil Spector employed his Wall of Sound production technique to notable effect; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as “WagnerianBrucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons”. Reflecting the widespread surprise at the assuredness of Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, Melody Maker‘s Richard Williams likened the album to Greta Garbo‘s first role in a talking picture and declared: “Garbo talks! – Harrison is free!” According to Colin Larkin, writing in the 2011 edition of his Encyclopedia of Popular MusicAll Things Must Pass is “generally rated” as the best of all the former Beatles’ solo albums.

During the final year of his life, Harrison oversaw a successful reissue campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release. After this reissue, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album six-times platinum. Among its appearances on critics’ best-album lists, All Things Must Pass was ranked 79th on The Times‘ “The 100 Best Albums of All Time” in 1993, while Rolling Stone placed it 433rd on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“. In 2014, All Things Must Pass was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Things_Must_Pass_(song)

The musicians who performed on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass version of the song are believed to be as follows:

Here is the title track from the All Things Must Pass triple album.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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A Conglomeration Of Birthdays

I find it amusing at how many of my family birthdays seem to come in groups. I understand that there are only so many days in a year, so it’s probable that some birthdays will fall near each other. But as I posted before when my father and both of his parents birthdays fall within 3 days of each other. So here is the next “installment”.

First, is my maternal grandmother;

Dora Calder (Hicks), 8 June 1898 – 4 March 1972

I spent many summer vacations at either her house, or a nearby aunt’s house, but I barely remember her. I was too busy playing with my cousins I guess.

Switching “families”, the next two are wifey’s parents.

Corneila Opha Greene (Moore), 12 June 1933 – 13 June 2014.
Charles Nathan Moore, Sr., 13 June 1925 – 27 October 2016.

My in-laws were every bit of parents to me as my parents were. They supported wifey and I every step of the way.

Peace,
B

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A Week Of Birthdays

I’m guessing that this was quite the week back in the day.

Yesterday would have been my paternal grandmother’s 134th birthday. Josephine “Nanny” Bodle was born 27 March 1885. Nanny lived with us for most of my childhood. She is where I get my love of cooking. She ran her own BBQ resturant in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Josie maybe 1900?

Today is my father’s birthday, Donald Campbell would have been 107. Dad was born 28 March 1912. He was a pretty remarkable guy. We had our differences, but then what kid doesn’t have issues with their parents at some point?

Donald Campbell maybe 1930?

And then to complete the trifecta, my paternal grandfather’s 135th birthday would have been on Sunday. Herbert J. Campbell born 31 March 1884, and died 5 February 1919, a victim of the flu pandemic.

Herbert J. Campbell 1905

I can only imagine how this week was celebrated in my Campbell ancestor’s house. I love the convergence of my father and his parents birthdays all together in one week.

And a Happy Birthday to anyone that has a birthday this week! You’re in good company.

Peace,
B

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They Say It’s Your Birthday

Today, 9 October, would have been John Lennon‘s 78th birthday. Sadly, along with my favorite Beatle, George Harrison, he is no longer with us.

But let’s talk of music, and not sad things.  I have been trying to decide which is my favorite Lennon song. He’s written some of the best music of my generation. From All You Need Is Love, Cry Baby Cry, Dear Prudence to Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey and of course, the iconic Imagine.  And those are just a few. Here’s the Wiki page for a list of Beatles songs, and solo songs.

I’m stuck between two songs for my “favorite” Lennon tune. It’s almost impossible to pick just one song out of all of his stuff. The first track I’ve selected is Rain. This song was before it’s time. Although it uses the “standard” I – IV- V chord structure (in this case G – C – D), it has unusual features such as backwards vocal tracks.  From the Wiki article;

Rain has a simple musical structure. Set in the key of G major (the final mix pitches it about a quarter of a semitone below this, while the backing track was taped in G sharp), it begins with what Alan W. Pollack calls, “a ra-ta-tat half-measure’s fanfare of solo snare drums”, followed by a guitar intro of the first chord. The verses are nine measures long, and the song is in 4/4 time. Each verse is based on the G, C, and D chords (I, IV, and V). The refrain contains only I and IV chords, and is twelve measures long (the repetition of a six-measure pattern). The first two measures are the G chord. The third and fourth measures are the C chord. The third measure has the C chord in the so-called 6/4 (second) inversion. The fifth and sixth measures return to the G chord. Pollack says the refrain seems slower than the verse, though it is at the same tempo, an illusion achieved by “the change of beat for the first four measures from its erstwhile bounce to something more plodding and regular”. After four verses and two refrains, a short solo for guitar and drums is played, with complete silence for one beat. Following this, the music returns accompanied by what Pollack terms “historically significant” reverse lyrics. Musicologist Walter Everett cites this closing section as an example of how the Beatles pioneered the “fade-out–fade-in coda”, a device used again by them on Strawberry Fields Forever and Helter Skelter, and by Led Zeppelin on Thank You.

Allan Kozinn describes McCartney’s bass as “an ingenious counterpoint that takes him all over the fretboard … while Lennon and McCartney harmonize in fourths on a melody with a slightly Middle Eastern tinge, McCartney first points up the song’s droning character by hammering on a high G (approached with a quick slide from the F natural just below it), playing it steadily on the beat for twenty successive beats.”

Ringo Starr called it his best drumming ever recorded.

The other track and I would probably place it above Rain in my list is Hey Bulldog. This is from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. It was cut from the USA release of the movie to shorten the time but was added back in for the 1999 re-release. When granddaughter-the-elder was an infant I would sing Yellow Submarine to her when she was fussy. Both granddaughters still love the song.

The biggest appeal for this song is that I can play the riff (along with the riff from Day Tripper). I know that’s not a good reason to call this a favorite, but it works for me. You can always make your own list!

So here on John’s birthday, I implore everyone to follow his advice, and “Give Peace A Chance”.

Have a different favorite of John’s? Tell me in a comment!

Peace,
B

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And A Good Time Was Had By All

As I mentioned on my 4th of July post, Wednesday was granddaughter-the-elder’s birthday, and Thursday was Wifey’s®. Last Monday, granddaughter-the-elder informed us she was having a unicorn party at both houses (as in our house and her other grandparent’s where she lives). Of course, she didn’t bother to ask us if she could have a birthday party, she just decided she was going to have a party, and that was the end of the discussion.  Well, what’s a good papa to do, other than making sure she has a unicorn party? Between Wifey®, son-the-younger (AKA Daddy), and myself, we managed to get everything together.

Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder, along with granddaughter-the-younger, starting browsing the Intertubes for unicorn party ideas. Somehow they decided on unicorn cake pops. Now we have never made any cake pops before, much less unicorn type, so Wifey®, being the smart cookie that she is, said we should make a trial batch before the party so we could get things right. Damn good thing we did. The first batch was an utter failure. The “instructions” (not really instructions – more like general ideas) were so generic, nothing went as shown. So she broke down and bought a cake pop tray. And while the cake pops came out correct, it was still anything but smooth sailing.

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Nekkid cake pops

The concept is once you have the cake pops baked and stuck on a stick (and there are several sizes of sticks available – but no advice as to which size to use), you’re supposed to dip them in some melted candy. This will give them a nice smooth surface to decorate, plus it seals the cake portion making them last a bit longer.

But here’s the thing. We bought a package of “candy melts” that are specifically made for this type of project. We bought a 10-ounce package (only size available), the “instructions” say you only need 4 ounces to cover 24 cake pops. Bullshit. For one thing, despite following the melting instructions on the candy packaging, I never could get it to dippable consistency. I have been melting chocolate and other candies for many years and never had a problem like this. One “instructional” video shows that instead of dipping the pops, use a spoon and drizzle the melted candy over the pops. Nope, not gonna happen. The candy was never liquid enough to drizzle either. So we ended up only covering some of our pops.

So on to the unicorn decorations. Wifey® found “instructions” on how to make a unicorn horn with fondant. It sounded easy enough. Just roll out some fondant cut into about a 2-inch section fold, and twist to look like a horn. You can then mount it on a toothpick, or something similar, so you can stick in a piece of styrofoam like stuff and put them in the fridge to harden. Once they’re hard you paint them with a small mix of either water or something alcohol based (for quick evaporation) and some edible glitter. We used vanilla extract, but I think the dark color of the extract made the horns turn too dark. But for the ears, mini-marshmallows cut in half, and painted with the same mix, they came out beautiful.

Next, we were supposed to draw eyes on the pops. We

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have special edible markers just for this purpose. But since the candy coating didn’t work correctly, and wasn’t smooth, it didn’t work either. But granddaughter-the-elder had a blast doing it anyway!

Wifey® then showed up my failures by piping the manes and little flowers on some of the pops. She has considerable piping skills!

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But, cake pop issues aside, the party was a lot of fun. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to plan it, we let granddaughter-the-elder set the guest list. So only a few really close friends of hers were invited.

Daddy (AKA son-the-younger), made us some homemade pizzas. He is a sous chef for an Italian restaurant here in town, and he has this pizza making stuff down pat. We had five pizzas and a mess of garlic knots (also homemade). And they were amazing!  I think we only had three slices of pizza left over!

The best of all the kitchen work was how little I had to do. Not that I didn’t want to help, but my lower back issue flared up again Saturday afternoon so I was on muscle relaxers most of the weekend. So all I really did was sit and chop veggies, and fail at the candy coating for the pops. It also meant that I couldn’t join in on the tequila shots later that evening.

Granddaughter-the-younger said that the kids were celebrating sissy’s birthday and the adults were celebrating memaw’s (Wifey®) birthday. So there was a water balloon fight (all ages), fireworks later in the evening, beer (and I did have some of that) & tequila (adults only!) and movies with popcorn and a sleepover (kids only!). My driveway looks like a battle zone right now. Remnants of fireworks and brightly colored balloon pieces are everywhere.

One of granddaughter-the-elder’s presents was a stuffed turtle. She has a fascination with any stuffed toy, with a soft spot for turtles. The turtle looks decidedly drunk. One droopy eye and the pupils are different sizes! She absolutely loves it.

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SO… how was you’re weekend?

P.S. If you have any good tips on cake pops, please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Peace,
B

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